Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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DEGEFA Tolossa, College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia

Ethiopia has put in place a series of agricultural and food security policies and strategies with the aim of accelerating economic growth, alleviating rural poverty and improving the livelihoods and food security of rural people. Despite progress in poverty alleviation, food insecurity and malnutrition continue to threaten the livelihoods of millions of citizens. About 29% of Ethiopia’s population are food insecure and consume below the minimum daily requirement of 2100 Kcal. The nation is characterized by a high rate of malnutrition, insofar as 40% of children under the age of five are stunted, 9% are wasted, and 25% are underweight. Ethiopia’s situation in terms of hunger and malnutrition is still categorized as “serious” with a Global Hunger Index of 33.4. In recent years, the Ethiopian government, in partnership with development partners and various donors, has devised the PSNP (Protective Safety Net Program) as a main food security program for addressing chronic food insecurity in the country since 2005. The objective of PSNP is to provide transfers to the food insecure population in 253 chronically food insecure woredas in a way that prevents asset depletion at household level, and creates assets at community level. Under the umbrella of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), the Agricultural Growth Program (AGP) has been initiated in four regions of Ethiopia viz., Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR, and Tigray. The goal of AGP is to boost agricultural growth and productivity in high potential areas in a sustainable manner. AGP Phase I was implemented between 2010 and 2014, and phase II was launched in 2015. In Ethiopia, the SLM (Sustainable Land Management) Program, started as a project in 2009, emphasizes the scaling up of successful practices, approaches and technologies to prevent or control land degradation by pursuing integrated and cross-sectoral approaches to sustainable land management. The main objective of the SLM program is to provide assistance to smallholder farmers to adopt sustainable land management practices on a wider scale. The three programs fall within the remit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources and their outcomes therefore contribute towards attaining the Ministry’s vision and objectives. They appear to be complementary when it comes to attaining food security. This is because PSNP is the nation’s core food security program; reversing land degradation and improving productivity and thereby raising the income of farmers is the core aim of SLM; and the aim of AGP is to increase agricultural productivity in order to raise the incomes and improve food security for farm households. Hence, on the basis of field data generated from some woredas in Amhara region, the main objective of this paper is to explore the convergence of the three programs with regard to improving livelihoods and food security at both community and household levels. The paper also looks at various political economy factors that affect the implementations and successes of each program.